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Faculty Mentor Program

The Faculty Mentor Program (FMP) forms an important link in the continuum of support for academically promising graduate students who will contribute to the diversity of the campus community. This award assists recipients in acquiring and developing advanced research skills under faculty mentorship. It is designed to improve mentoring for UC Merced doctoral students who will not be at the dissertation stage during the award period, but who are currently engaged in research with a faculty mentor. The award is expected to increase the number of students who complete their Ph.D. degree and successfully acquire a faculty appointment.

Eligibility Requirements & Standards

  • United States citizens, permanent residents, or AB540 student.
  • Continuing UC Merced doctoral students in any graduate program who will not be advanced to candidacy during the tenure of the award, but who are currently engaged in research with a faculty mentor, are eligible for nomination.
  • Enrolled in 12 units in one of the graduate programs, GPA ≥ 3.0 and good academic standing.
  • The student is expected to conduct research under the guidance of the faculty mentor during both semesters leading to progressively more independent work. Considerable efforts are to be focused on degree work and progress.
  • Fellows are expected to participate in activities designed by faculty mentors to improve research skills and preparation for an academic career.   
  • Faculty mentors are expected to participate in mentoring sessions and assist student participants with their scholarly research leading to the development of a doctoral dissertation.
  • The University of California, Merced is committed to the recruitment, admission, and retention of a high quality and diverse graduate student population, where diversity encompasses under-represented groups based on cultural, linguistic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Both students and faculty mentors are expected to participate in Graduate Division diversity activities and efforts. In accordance with applicable state law, applicants to the program may not be given preferential treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or national origin.
  • It is expected that the student mentee will develop substantial research skills and experience, resulting in a significant achievement or outcome such as a published research paper worthy of a scholarly journal by the end of the year in which the fellowship was awarded.
  • Both students and faculty mentors are expected to submit an evaluation at the end of the academic year.
  • University of California Office of the President requires the Graduate Division to monitor/track the progress and eventual job placement of all diversity fellowship recipients. Faculty, staff and students involved in this program must comply with all requests for information from the Graduate Division.
  • Awardee information may be shared with donors, including but not limited to: name, award amount, UC Merced email address, application materials and/or summary of program/research interest.

Financial Support

  • Up to two awards will be made each academic year.
  • Recipients will receive a fellowship of $25,002 paid over a 9-month academic year period plus payment of Graduate Fees (Resident Tuition, Student Services Fee,  Health Services Fee, and Campus Based Fees).
  • Fellows are eligible for up to $500 (to be used within the awarded year) for travel expenses related to conference presentation.
  • Fellows may not be employed during the tenure of this fellowship.

Student Loan Impact

  • Per federal guidelines, all fellowship and tuition support is taken into consideration when determining student loan eligibility.  If you will receive federal student loans during the same academic year as this award, please note that this award could, and most likely will, reduce your student loan eligibility.

Use of Funds

Funds may be used specifically for the pursuit of educational and graduate career goals.

Application Procedures

  • Apply by completing an online application.  Please note, the fellowship application is built within the admissions system, so you might see some items that reference admissions.
  • During the application process you will be able to select this fellowship among others, if it is currently open.
  • Please include the following items with your application:
    • General Statement - 1-2 pages that describe your research area(s) of interest, accomplishments to date and long-term academic goals.
    • Project Plan/Timeline - 1-2 pages that describe your academic goals that will be supported by the fellowship(s), including a plan for training and research activities for the time period of fellowship support. The plan may include professional meetings, courses, workshops, seminars, and professional development activities for pursuing an academic career.
    • For your statement and plan, write for a general academic audience, i.e. a faculty reviewer who does not necessarily have expertise in your area of research.
    • Unofficial up-to-date UCM transcript.
    • Curriculum vitae (CV)
    • Diversity Statement - 1 page that describes how your academic research interests relate to issues of diversity and broaden participation in research, and/or cultural, societal or educational issues, particularly as they might benefit under-served populations. With regard to your own background, briefly discuss your path to graduate school, including any obstacles you may have overcome to complete your education, such as socio-economic or educational disadvantages.
    • One letter of recommendation from a UCM faculty member.
  • The fellowship committee will review all complete applications. Review criteria will include adherence to the fellowship guidelines, the academic qualifications of the applicant, the letter of recommendation, and the nominee's contributions to diversity. Please note, incomplete applications will not be reviewed.




* Graduate Division reserves the right not to make an award in any given year for which a call for applications/nominations has been issued.



See the Internal Fellowships page for current deadlines associated with this fellowship.